From Squamish to the Utah desert to Ten Sleep to Greece to Smith to Chattanooga and a few dozen destinations in between, our group of 30 psyched testers ripped fabric, popped stitches, took whippers, smeared, edged, and heel hooked their way through hundreds of products to find the following 11 pieces of near-perfect gear.
See our 2016 Gear Guide for more reviews, on newsstands next week
The Lightest Cams on the Market
Review: Metolius Ultralight Master Cams
“The action was really smooth, and I had reliable, solid placements with every type of fissure and pod—and a lighter pack to boot,” exclaimed one Eldorado Canyon, Colorado tester. Brownie points: It is all made right here in the U.S.A. Read full review.
Airy, Ultra-Comfy Harness
Perfect Road Trip Cooker
Review: Jetboil Genesis
Two van-living climbers refused to pass this ingenious stove down the testing line because they claimed they’d “never be able to find such an efficient, versatile, and compact stove anywhere else.” Read full review.
The Approach Shoe for Modern Climbing Life
Classic Cam Cuts Weight
Review: Black Diamond Camalot Ultralight
The much-loved Camalot C4 sets the standard for modern spring-loaded camming devices, with snappy trigger action, a great placement range, and top-notch durability. The new Ultralights are all that with about 25% less weight for the whole set. Read full review.
The Only Self-Massage Tool You’ll Ever Need
A Light, Simple, Soft-Catch Belay Device
Review: Edelrid Jul² Belay Device
With no moving parts and a wide range of rope diameters, the Jul² provides assisted-braking capability that every tester lauded for its reliable and soft catch. Read full review.
One Set of Spikes for Wildly Varied Terrain
Review: Black Diamond Snaggletooth Crampons
The aptly named Snaggletooth is an innovative hybrid that combines the stability of horizontal frontpoints with the precision of a mono point. Read full review.
Expert Craftsmanship, Bargain Price
Review: Scarpa Origin Climbing Shoe
Beginners, high-mileage gym climbers, and moderate multi-pitch trad climbers will love the price and durability of this $89 shoe by legendary designer Heinz Mariacher. Read full review.
Review: Mammut Multi-Pitch Chalkbag
Designers increased the size of a classic chalkbag slightly, added a zipper pocket, and put an adjustable bungee on the bottom for a lightweight shell or puffy. “Finally!” one tester said. Read full review.